Learning to Laugh Through the Pain: My Valentine’s Day Story

There are times in your life when everything you planned crumbles and you can’t decide if you should start to cry because you suck at life or if you should just laugh because you have reached a whole new level of suck.

That was me last month.

That was me on Valentine’s Day.

You guys have to understand something – I’m a romantic guy. I love taking my girl out, I love surprising her and I love hearing her do this one laugh where she almost screams at the same time because she is so excited. She means the world to me and I can’t help express how much I love her on a daily basis, so you best believe I was gearing up for Valentine’s Day.

I wanted to be cheesy and special at the same time, so I bought her every typical Valentine’s gift you could ever imagine. We had a stuffed bear holding a heart, some chocolate, a dozen roses – you name it. The gifts were more of a joke and that’s why I love our relationship. We love to laugh but little did I know the comedy of the night would be coming from my misfortune. On top of all the gifts, I planned to have a picnic before going to the drive-in overlooking the LA skyline and finish off the night with some dessert. I had this all planned out but as the days got closer, the more all the suck started to creep in.

First, it had been raining in LA so the cool drive-in I was going to take her to ended up canceling their showings and postponed them for the weekend. Side note, it didn’t rain that day!

Then February 13th came around. My nose started running uncontrollably, and that’s an understatement. I had snot dripping down my face, getting on my phone, landing in my food and it just kept coming. I felt hopeless, so I used a whole box of Kleenex to construct a disposable bullring type shape to clog my nostrils. I started taking every cold medicine I could find because I saw many of my friends go through the same symptoms, and they were dripping snot for a week. I didn’t want my Valentine’s Day to be like that! I didn’t want to share my girlfriend with the Finding Dory tissue boxes I had been carrying around with me.

The suck didn’t care; the medicine had no effect. It was finally Valentine’s Day, and my nose thought its performance from the day before wasn’t good enough. I contemplated calling out from work but I couldn’t justify going out that night if I skipped. I gave myself a little pep talk, grabbed my stuff, took a swig of DayQuil and headed to work.

It was a long day, to say the least, but the more the day went on, the weaker I got so I decided to change my plans again. If you know Alexa, you know she loves pizza, and one of our favorite pizza places were making heart shaped pies that night, and it just so happened to be located in my hometown. So here I go again, trying to make this Valentine’s Day special. Pizza also paired nicely with the cheesy Valentine’s theme. The only downside was the drive home was an hour and a half away, but I was determined to hear that laugh.

5 o’clock finally rolled around and I sped home. I was so excited to see her by the time I reached my place I didn’t even feel sick anymore. My mood started to change, I started to feel like myself again, but the suck had other plans. As I walked through the door I felt the urgency to urinate, and I’m not talking about that feeling you get when you drink a lot of water. I couldn’t control it, and it was going to come out whether I liked it or not.

I ripped my pants off, ran butt naked to the bathroom hoping to at least reach the sink, but somehow ended up in the bathtub because my toilet was clogged with someone else’s crap. The weird thing was, I didn’t even pee that much but I soon realized this urgency to urinate wasn’t because I had to go, it was something more serious. As I walked outside to pick up my pants, my left testicle felt like a high school drumline decided to perform their latest set on it. I fell to the ground, feeling like one of those senior citizens in the lifealert commercials and crawled slowly back to my bed.

After some deep breathing exercises and a lot of prayer, I somehow made it to Alexa’s house without any pain. We exchanged gifts, she loved hers, I loved mine and that was probably the best I felt all night. Shortly after we were on our way to Oxnard. I took a different route home to increase the surprise factor, but it added an extra 20 minutes to the commute. It was 20 extra minutes for the suck to figure out how to ruin my night once again.

Right before we reached the restaurant, I started to get the chills. The suck had shifted from my nose and went full on virus, but at least my boys downstairs we’re doing okay. My girlfriend noticed my discomfort but I swore I was fine. We were seated fairly fast but as I sat down, the drumline was back, and they weren’t going to take a break this time. The more pain I felt in my testicles, the worse my fever became. I tried being a good sport, but I started feeling nauseous, and it was clear something was very wrong.

We left the restaurant, made our way to my parents’ house where we were going to surprise my mom and what a surprise it was! I was sitting on the couch with a 102-degree fever and could barely stand due to the pain. I somehow formed a smile and jokingly said, “Happy Valentine’s Day” before my dad asked what was wrong. After a brief recap of my night, he thought I was going to pass a kidney stone. If you don’t know what that is, it’s my deepest fear in life and is basically the male version of giving birth.

We headed to the ER where I spent the rest of the evening. I was in and out of sleep and by the time they discharged me it was 4 A.M. The doctor ruled out the kidney stone, but couldn’t diagnose the pain so he referred me to another doctor who sent me to another specialist. My fever was still alive and well, and it was at that moment where I reached my breaking point. It was at that moment I began to laugh.

I began to laugh because, amidst all the suck, I got a glimpse of how great life really is. I had people who loved me, I didn’t have to give birth, and out of the 4 people who saw my junk that night, only one of them chuckled when I pulled my pants down. In all seriousness, it was a great reminder that we may not choose the circumstances we find ourselves in, but we do get to choose our attitude.

I’m learning to choose joy.

I’m learning to appreciate every moment.

I’m learning to laugh.



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